UG student Keron Sandiford is new National Junior Chess Champion
Keron Sandiford is the new National Milex Junior Chess Champion after a comprehensive qualifying tournament and a tense round-robin championship against the best junior chess players in the country.
Sandiford, 18, is a University of Guyana student; he also won the UG Chess Championship and National Junior Rapid Contest earlier this year.
Sandiford is no stranger to the game, with many years of winning trophies and medals. In his final match to secure the title, Sandiford played black against Kishan Puran, who resigned on his 30th move.
Puran’s opening was the Scotch Gambit, a popular continuation to the typical e4, e5 opening moves.
While typical lines for black’s response to this gambit are Nf6, Bc5, Be7 or d6; Sandiford opted for a far more aggressive approach, launching his queen to F6. Puran seemed unfazed by this and went ahead and continued developing his minor pieces and castling.
Sandiford quickly brought his bishop into play to launch an attack on Puran’s king side, threatening mate.
Puran managed to save his king, but lost many pieces and was severely weakened positionally in process, leading to his resignation.
Sandiford was elated to secure victory and win the title.
He ended the tournament on eight points after nine rounds, with victories over brothers Ethan and Ronan Lee, brothers Nicholas and Alexander Zhang, former Junior Champion Ricardo Narine, Oluwadare Oyeyipo and Kishan Puran.
He drew in his matches against Matthew Singh and close title contender Kyle Couchman, but suffered no losses throughout the tournament.
Under-14 Champion Couchman finished the event in second place, just one point behind Sandiford after drawing his final match against Nicholas Zhang.
Qualifying champion Ethan Lee was third with 6.5 points. Matthew Singh came in fourth on six points, while Oluwadare was fifth with 5.5 points.
The former Junior Champ Narine finished sixth with four points. Ronan Lee earned 3.5 points to take the seventh spot, while Nicholas Zhang finished on 2.5 points in eighth place.
Alexander Zhang gained two points for ninth spot and Kishan Puran took the final spot. All games were live-streamed on livechesscloud.com and youtube.com.
Both the National Junior Qualifier tournament and the National Junior Championship were FIDE rated.
“The Guyana Chess Federation congratulates Keron Sandiford on his success, as well as the nine other junior players who played in the Championship. The GCF is proud of all the players who have consistently strived for success in chess. Their hard work, love and dedication to chess is an inspiration to many,” the Guyana Chess Federation said.
The prize giving ceremony for the tournament will be held when all the National Championships have concluded.
The Federation will host the National Women’s 2023 Chess Qualifiers commencing July 29, from which the top nine players will face off against the reigning National Women’s Champion, Pooja Lam. (Modified Press Release from the Guyana Chess Federation)